SMU Women’s Basketball Falls in Regular Season Finale

March 4, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Marissa Belske
msbelske@smu.edu

SMU women’s basketball concluded their regular season Thursday night with a loss against the Rice Owls of Houston. The final score was 73-63 in Moody Coliseum where the Mustangs finished out the season eighth in Conference USA.

Senior Haley Day put forth a strong performance in her last home game as a Mustang, posting double-double figures with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Haley really did a good job of hitting the boards,” said Mustang Head Coach Rhonda Rompola. “Her pursuit of the basketball is so good. I wish we could have 15 players that go after the ball like Haley Day.”

Senior Raquel Christian also performed strong bringing in 10 points for the Mustangs. Sophomore Alisha Filmore also provided a strong offensive front for the Mustangs with her 14 points.

The SMU defense held Rice to just 39.3 percent from the field, but the Mustangs where unable to stop the Owl’s Jessica Kuster. The 10-time C-USA Freshman of the Week scored 23 points and brought down 13 rebounds.

The Mustangs will play ninth-seeded UTEP at 8:30 p.m. in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament Wednesday, March 9, in El Paso, Texas.

Q&A With Former Mustang and WNBA Player Brittany Gilliam

May 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie
rgillespie@smu.edu

Former SMU guard and senior Brittany Gilliam signed a WNBA contract last week with the Tulsa Shock. After the try-outs with 50 other players, Gilliam was one of the final five players picked for training camp. She got back Tuesday from the camp in Tulsa.

To make the team she will have to be one of the eleven players on the roster on May 15. Currently, there are 15 players in training camp; so four players will be cut.

Here are edited excerpts from our brief Q&A with Gilliam from Wednesday.

Recently you signed a WBNA contract update us on your status, what’s your basketball schedule with the Shock? And are you satisfied with your training camp performance?

Gilliam: I just got back from Tulsa. My performance was very well. I just learned a few things about the business side of basketball. The coaches explained to me how there are 5 of us he brought from tryouts, which is what I went through. They picked 5 to go to training camp…a total of 15 girls in training camp, which I didn’t know, he had to let some of the ones who tried out go, but he couldn’t cut the draft picks.

My game is there I can play at the next level. He just has to go through the steps. I got to play with some of the best players: Alexis Hornbuckle, who won three championships with Tennessee, Clanent Pearson of the Detroit shock, and Marion Jones.

My experience was fun. I got to see if I could really play at that level. And I can.

I am learning a different style of basketball. We wouldn’t press. I have another gear in me. I can play this hard and be effective throughout the whole game. I can take my game to another level.

How has your 4 years at SMU with Coach Rompola prepare you for professional league?

Gilliam: It helped me a lot. Coach Rompola was big on me with defense and wanted me to stay low. It actually helped me out playing with the Tulsa shock and playing with coach Richardson because his whole game is defense, defense, defense. It just has to do with the next level. When I left high school, I thought high school was hard but when I came to college I could do it same leaving college. At this next level, every player is good. It is a transition. Rhonda helped me with defense. There are some things I haven’t learned but for the next level that’s what she learned. Rhonda played a part in that by staying on me all the time.

[I’m] still working out, he has another cut by Friday, so a cut each week. I was excited he came to me and said don’t stop working out because there’s a possibility he can call me back and I’ll be back on the team. Right now, I’m trying to finish up with classes and continue to work if he calls me back. I have a few agents who are talking to teams, including [European teams]. I guess I’m just waiting on that phone call to see my next move with basketball.

Women’s Basketball Hands Out Season Awards

April 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie
rgillespie@smu.edu

After leading the Mustangs to their third straight 20-win season, Rhonda Rompola presented the women’s basketball 2009-2010 season awards Monday.

Senior Alice Severin won the “Defense” and “Mustang” awards. She was an Academic All-Conference award winner after averaging 6.1 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.

Brittany Gilliam, who recently signed a training camp contract with the Tulsa Shock, won the team’s “Offense” award. Gilliam averaged 14.7 points, 5 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game in 2009-2010. She also earned a first-team All C-USA honor.

Rompola awarded junior Haley Day the “Hustle” award. Day will be an instrumental part of next year’s team as she will be the only starting senior. She scored 9.6 points per game and averaged 6.5 rebounds.

The only underclassman to win an award was sophomore Christine Elliott who earned the “Rebounding” award after pulling down over eight rebounds per game while averaging eleven points per game.

Sports Blog: SMU Women’s Basketball Signs New Recruit

April 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Kristin Kimball

The women’s basketball team has added a point guard to their roster.

Krystal Johnson of Neeman Forest High School in Garland, Texas has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for the Mustangs beginning with the 2010-11 season.

Johnson was selected MVP of District 10-5A and a member of the 5A All-Region team. She averaged 17.4 points and four assists per game.

The women’s team is graduating three of its starters this spring: Jillian Samuels, Brittany Gilliam, and Alice Severin.

“Yes we did lose three important people on our team, but we also have a lot of great talent coming from a transfer who had to sit this past year [Kristin Hernandez], two seniors who did not play this past year [Delisha Wills and Raquel Christian],” guard Alisha Filmore said.

The Mustangs just finished the 2009-10 season with a 20-11 record. The team also made its third consecutive WNIT appearance.

“I believe we have great team chemistry that will really help us in the long run and a lot of really passionate players who are working hard for next year. I expect us to surpass the things we did this year and make it to the NCAA tournament. It’s not so much of us wanting her [Johnson] to come in and fill JB’s [Samuels] spot it’s a matter of her coming in and getting accumulated to the system and then find her role on this team,” Filmore said.

Kristin Kimball is a senior Journalism major working in the Athletics Department.

Mustangs Sign Top Local Player

April 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie
rgillespie@smu.edu

The SMU women’s basketball team added an incoming freshmen to their roster Wednesday after Krystal Johnson signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for the Mustangs.

Johnson, a senior at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas, was selected MVP of District 10-5A and was a member of the 5A All-Region team, after averaging 17.4 points per game her senior season.

The 5-3 point guard will take over at the point guard position left open by graduating senior Jillian Samuels.

“Krystal was one of the top scorers in the Metroplex, and is a true point-guard with quickness and vision we need,” said SMU Head Coach Rhonda Rompola, who led the Mustangs to a 20-11 record last season.

The team also loses senior scoring leader Brittany Gilliam, who played in two NITs and one NCAA tournament in her time on the Hilltop.

SMU Stumbles against UAB in Second Round of C-USA Tournament

March 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team fell to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, 64-55, Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA Championship tournament at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.

SMU (20-10, 10-7 C-USA) jumped to an 18-6 lead midway through the first half following a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Heidi Brandenburg, but the Blazers (16-14, 10-8 C-USA) went on a 12-0 run to tie the game.

Senior post Alice Severin led the Mustangs with eight first-half points, and SMU took a 25-22 lead into halftime.

After missing all five three-point attempts in the first half, however, UAB improved to shoot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc in the second half and take the lead with over 17 minutes to play.

“They’re a very good team,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of the Blazers in a post-game radio interview. “We just ran into some unforced errors.”

Three UAB players combined to score 60 of the team’s 64 points – senior forward Tamika Dukes (21 points) and freshmen guards Amber Jones (23) and Jala Harris (16).

The Mustangs were led by 13 points apiece from junior guard Haley Day and senior guard Jillian Samuels.

Severin finished with 10 points while sophomore post Christine Elliot scored eight points with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Senior forward Brittany Gilliam scored just four points and committed four turnovers before fouling out with 8:01 left in the game.

“When you have somebody of Brittany’s caliber sitting on the bench,” Rompola said, “it’s very difficult because it takes away some leadership, and we were missing that a little bit.”

The team will find out Monday if it is selected for the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Gilliam, Samuels Lead SMU to 71-52 Win Over Tulsa on Senior Night

March 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team, having secured a first-round bye in next week’s Conference USA Championship Tournament, won its 20th game of the season Wednesday with a 71-52 victory over Tulsa at Moody Coliseum.

Senior guard Brittany Gilliam led the way for SMU (20-9, 10-6 C-USA) with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, good for her fifth double-double of the year.

Junior forward Haley Day also picked up her third double-double this season with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Golden Hurricane (12-15, 6-10 C-USA) shot just 24.7 percent on field goals in the game, including 0-for-12 on three-point attempts in the second half.

Freshman guard Alisha Filmore scored a career-high 12 points and senior guard Jillian Samuels finished with 11 points and two assists in 31 minutes.

“You rely on them,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of her two active seniors. “They have to take over, and they did.”

Senior post Alice Severin is coming back from an injury and did not play against Tulsa, though she is expected to return for the C-USA tournament.

With Severin and sophomore post Christine Elliot unable to play, Rompola turned to sophomore Heidi Brandenburg and freshman Sarah Shelton to create an inside presence.

In her first career start, Brandenburg scored nine points with five rebounds while Shelton came off the bench for eight points and eight defensive rebounds.

“They didn’t play like two players who hadn’t played much,” Rompola said. “I saw Sarah mature as a player today. She actually rebounded with an attitude today, and that was something different.”

Gilliam, Samuels and Severin were each honored before Wednesday’s game as part of SMU Senior Night activities.

Together, the seniors have compiled 82 wins during their time on the Hilltop, tying them with the class of 2000 for the most victories over a four-year span. That was also the only other class at SMU to reach 20 wins three years in a row.

“I think that just shows what we’ve done to help this program out,” Gilliam said. “We’re just winners, you know … We don’t like to lose.”

Depending on the outcomes of two conference games Thursday, the Mustangs will enter the 2010 GMC Sierra C-USA Championship in Tulsa as the second, third or fourth seed, though their first-round bye is guaranteed.

Matchups and game times will be announced on Friday.

Samuels Sets 3-Point Mark in 69-61 Win

February 25, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team, playing shorthanded while senior post Alice Severin recovers from a knee injury, needed just seven players Thursday to beat the University of Central Florida at Moody Coliseum, 69-61.

SMU (18-9, 8-6 Conference USA) was led by 17 points from senior guard Jillian Samuels, who tied and broke the school record for career three-pointers during the game against the Knights (8-15, 5-9 C-USA).

With her first trifecta of the night, Samuels tied the record of 236 set by Andrea Cossey from 2000-2004, and she moved ahead with another three-pointer at the 5:29 mark in the first half.

“Everybody kept talking about it, but I was trying not to think about it,” Samuels said.

“It was a relief that she got it in the first half,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said. “It’s nice to break the record, but with something like that you want to follow it up with a victory.”

Samuels added another three-pointer in the second half (No. 238), and SMU shot 7-for-19 from behind the arc in the game while UCF was just 2-for-13.

Senior guard Brittany Gilliam and junior forward Haley Day each had 13 points for the Mustangs, and Day also grabbed 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.

Sophomore post Christine Elliot pulled down eight rebounds while freshman forward Sarah Shelton went a perfect 4-for-4 shooting and contributed eight points with six rebounds in her third career start.

Without the 6-foot-3-inch Severin in the lineup, SMU was out-rebounded 48-34 by UCF, and the Knights scored 34 points in the paint to the Mustangs’ 26.

“Rebounding was a huge concern,” Rompola said. “Even though [the Knights] are small, they’re very athletic. And they’re strong, very strong under the board.”

The Mustangs remain in a third-place tie with the University of Houston (14-13, 8-6 C-USA), and they can clinch a first-round bye in the conference championship tournament with a victory Saturday against Southern Miss.

Tip-off against the Golden Eagles (9-18, 5-9 C-USA) is set for 2 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Mustangs Let Lead Slip Away, Lose 73-67

February 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team could not build on Friday’s win over Rice, falling to the University of Houston Cougars Sunday afternoon at Moody Coliseum, 73-67.

The Mustangs (18-8, 6-5 Conference USA) led for much of the game but saw their field-goal shooting drop from 50 percent in the first half to 27.3 percent in the second half, which let Houston (13-11, 7-4 C-USA) outscore them 38-28 after the intermission.

“We let their pressure get to us,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said. “We were a little rattled, and we played rattled.”

Senior guard Jillian Samuels led SMU with 17 points and sophomore post Christine Elliot grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds.

Junior Haley Day and senior Brittany Gilliam each scored 15 points for the Mustangs, and Gilliam picked up her third double-double of the season with 10 rebounds, but the pair also combined for 10 turnovers.

Houston scored 18 points off of 17 SMU turnovers in the game.

“I made some bad passes into Christine [Elliot],” Day said. “We were in control most of the game, and when it started getting closer we were all on our heels. They pretty much took us out of our offense.”

The Cougars were led by 25 points from guard Brittney Scott (including five three-pointers) and 10 rebounds from forward Lesslee Mason.

Houston also used an 18-for-21 performance from the free throw line to complete its second-half comeback.

“We can’t afford to lose any more games,” Samuels said. “We shouldn’t have lost this one. We just need to pick it up, make sure we keep on pressuring teams and don’t ever let up.”

The team now prepares for an extended weekend road trip to face Tulsa (9-13, 3-8 C-USA) on Friday and Marshall (14-11, 6-6 C-USA) next Monday, Feb. 21.

SMU will return home to take on the University of Central Florida Knights (7-13, 4-7 C-USA) on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Mustangs Beat Rice 73-54 at Moody

February 12, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team won its sixth consecutive home game Friday with a 73-54 victory over Rice at Moody Coliseum.

Senior guard Brittany Gilliam led SMU (16-7, 6-4 Conference USA) with 24 points and two steals as the Mustangs snapped a brief two-game losing streak while avenging a 61-58 loss to the Owls (11-12, 5-5 C-USA) Jan. 28 in Houston.

SMU outscored Rice in the paint by 20 points (38-18), and head coach Rhonda Rompola said she was pleased with the team’s passion, energy and desire.

“It was our defensive energy that got us going,” she said in a post-game radio interview. “I thought we finally got our running game going a little bit more.”

Senior guard Jillian Samuels scored 16 points, including a perfect 2-for-2 on three-point attempts, and senior post Alice Severin added 10 points with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Rice was led by sophomores D’Frantz Smart and Jackie Stanley, who combined for 31 points and nine rebounds, but the rest of the team scored just 13 points on 9-of-35 from the field.

“I just thought we were more scrappy, more energetic, and we had a lot more life today,” Rompola said.

SMU will take on the second-place Houston Cougars (12-10, 6-3 C-USA) Sunday at 2 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Prior to the game, the team will host a Fan Fest as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

The event, which will feature members of the SMU women’s basketball, golf, soccer, swimming, track and volleyball teams, will be held in the Crum Center from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and admission is included in the price of a game ticket.

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